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Featured Reviews

Pegasus Bay 2016 Chardonnay and Merlot Cabernet, and 2015 Pinot Noir

23 May,2018

When Ivan and Chris Donaldson established Pegasus Bay in the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury in 1985, they planted a mixture of varieties they deemed would succeed following their earlier experience with an experimental vineyard. Many of the varieties flourished and have become classics of the North Canterbury region, while others have been left by the wayside. Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot have proven their worth to the Donaldsons’ vineyards and wines are made from these varieties over three decades later. Here, I review three wines from these foundation varieties, the 2016 Chardonnay and Merlot (blended with others), plus of course a Pinot Noir, from the 2015 vintage.


Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley North Canterbury Chardonnay 2016

Chardonnay from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara


Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth and lighter lemon hues on the rim. The nose is softly full with broad and voluminous aromas of ripe, savoury yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit along with complex nutty lees and oak notes. The aromas form a deep and densely packed core with a layer of mealy-nutty and flinty-mineral elements. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a rich heart of sweetly ripe yellow stonefruits and citrus fruit entwined with a complex layer of nutty lees and oak with mealy elements. The fruit is enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity which balances a rich, near unctuous core with barrel-ferment creaminess. The flavours are detailed and the wine possesses underlying power carrying the palate to a very long finish. This is a rich and luscious Chardonnay with stonefruit and citrus fruit complexed by mealy and nutty elements with excellent acid balance. Match with roasted and grilled seafood, poultry and pork over the next 4-5+ years. Fruit from ungrafted vines, over 30 y.o., hand-picked and 60-70% WBP, indigenous yeast fermented in puncheons to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months on lees in 30% new oak, undergoing MLF. 19.0-/20 May 2018 RRP $42.00

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley North Canterbury Merlot/Cabernet 2016

Blended Red from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara


Full, even, near impenetrable black-hued purple-ruby colour, youthful in appearance. The nose is elegantly concentrated with bright and vibrant primary fruit aromas of dark-red berry fruit and dark plums, harmoniously melded with soft notes of blackberries and blackcurrants, some fragrant redcurrants, lifted red floral elements and a little spice. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a refined and concentrated core of bright and lively primary fruit flavours of dark-red berryfruit, dark plums, subtle notes of black and redcurrants and fresh, whole-berry fermentation nuances. The fruit has plenty of drive and linearity, and is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction lending structure and grip. The fruit carries to an elegant, black-fruited finish. This is a refined Merlot and Cabernet based blend with ripe dark berry and plum fruit with some primary and whole berry ferment lift, on a vibrant palate with fine structure. Serve with grilled and roasted red meats and Mediterranean fare over the next 6+ years. A blend of 40% each Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with 15% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc, the fruit from vines over 30 y.o., largely ungrafted, and indigenous yeast fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 2 years in 25% new French oak barriques. 18.5+/20 May 2018 RRP $32.50

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Canterbury & Waipara


Dark ruby-red colour with a deep heart, a little lighter on the edge with slight purple hues. The bouquet is full and redolent of fragrant dark-red cherry and berry fruit entwined savoury notes of black plums and lifted dark herbs, unfolding dark-red floral elements. The aromatics form a deep heart with plenty of aromatic presence. Medium-full bodied, the palate has an elegant and harmoniously interwoven, rich and sweet-fruited heart with flavours of dark-red berry fruit with subtle notes of savoury plums, dark herbs and fragrant florals. The mouthfeel is bright and vibrant and the succulent fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction with balanced acidity. The fruit vitality carries the wine to a long and sustained, sweet finish. This is a beautifully elegant and harmonious, vibrant and bright-fruited Pinot Noir with dark-red fruits, herbs and florals on a fresh, fine-grained palate. Match with poultry and pork, lamb, beef and venison over the next 6+ years. Fruit from mainly ungrafted vines over 30 y.o., indigenous yeast fermented with approx. 25% whole clusters and as many whole berries as possible to 13.5% alc., the wine aged 22 months in 40% new French oak barriques. 19.0+/20 May 2018 RRP $51.00

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